This summer I move off the boat, and one consequence of that is starting to come into focus for me. I’m not in a position to travel much for Druid gatherings, and want there to be something very local. There are things going on in my area – open rituals, moots, and I’ve looked into those a bit, which has got me to the point of feeling that we aren’t over saturated with groups, and that no one is doing what I want to do: Namely to have an experimental and teaching Grove.
I’ve been involved with running groups before, and one thing I’ve learned is the importance of figuring out a few things before-hand. Shape of group, aims, location, frequency of meetings, methods of communication… get these right and the whole thing can flow well and needs little energy to keep it moving. A badly set up group can use up a lot of time to little effect. I have to be careful with my time and energy, so am starting to plan months in advance.
I know I am not going to get into something democratic. In practice it doesn’t work, more time is spent discussing than doing. If I’m running a thing, I will do so as a benevolent dictator, and on my own terms. People can either go along with that, or do some other thing. Groups work better where there’s some maker of final decisions and where it’s clear who holds responsibility. I’m the sort of dictator who isn’t keen to do any more work than is absolutely necessary, so always have space for people who want to do things, and for the ideas of people who come along with good ideas. I’ve learned it’s useful to feel able to say ‘no’ though, and that’s not easy if you’re supposed to be being democratic.
The other thing I know at this stage, is that I’m not going to focus on the usual 8 festivals. Partly because plenty of others in viable striking distance are doing rituals at the eight usual times, so it’s going to be easier to go along to theirs and I don’t want to run in competition to anything local. I spent a lot of years with a group doing the big 8, and felt an increasing need to get away from that, a desire to explore different stories, and to develop a different kind of relationship with the turning year. The desire for experimental Druidry is very much in my mind as I consider how to progress.
I need to find a space. I have a location in mind that should give me accessible open space, ancestral connections and a pub in viable striking distance. I will have to pin it down more precisely, and look at the transport issues. As I’m not yet sure who else might want to show up or where they might be coming from, I’m not sure what to be looking for, but some accessibility by public transport is definitely an issue. I also need to look at the feasibility of access for people who are not so mobile. Child friendliness is a consideration too. I don’t want a setup that automatically excludes anyone.
I need to find a name, but that might be easier once I have a location sorted. Once that comes, I can set up some kind of online space for ease of communication, and open the idea up. I anticipate I’m a good few months away from being able to do any of that. Rather a lot will then depend on who wants to come along, what they bring, and what they ask of me. I’ve spent nearly three years now as something like a hermit, largely out of the loop. I’ve learned a lot, and one of the things I’ve learned is how much I appreciate the rhythms of being part of an active Druid community that gets outside and does stuff.
I’m envisaging something fairly small, and fairly intensive, but we shall see. I’ll blog more about this as it develops. It’s not the only big upheaval I’m anticipating in my Druid Life, as I’m poised to jump with something else that has a lot of potential to be dramatic and interesting too. I’ll post more about that once I know what’s happening. Watch this space.